Workers comp rates not a big problem

The Witchita Eagle
Saturday, September 30, 2006

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Barnett thinks that Kansas businesses are burdened by present workers' compensation premiums and payouts.
Though it is important to control business costs, there is little evidence to support that charge, at least compared with other states.
In fact, existing benefits for workers injured on the job are a "colossal failure" and under assault nationwide, including in Kansas, according to a new study by the New York-based Center for Justice and Democracy.
The workers' compensation administrative system was designed as a no-fault alternative to civil litigation. For giving up their right to go to court, employees accepted a system of set payments for work-related injuries or disabilities.
In theory, both employer and employee would benefit from this social contract.
In practice, however, state legislatures -- under pressure from insurance companies and industry -- in the past decade have been busy with "reforms" that tip the balance toward employers, leaving holes in the safety net for workers.

At the same time, benefits paid to injured workers are the seventh-lowest in the nation. For employers, what's not to like? As an effort to boost businesses, a "reform" of Kansas workers' comp law seems to be a solution in search of a problem.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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